day. People stood fast to gaze at us; in the
country some pulled off their hats and set up a cheer.
The landlords of the inns where we baited remained
bare-headed until we started afresh, and I, according
to my father’s example, bowed and lifted my
cap gravely to persons saluting us along the roads.
Nor did I seek to know the reason for this excess
of respectfulness; I was beginning to take to it naturally.
At the end of a dusty high-road, where it descends
the hill into a town, we drew up close by a high red
wall, behind which I heard boys shouting at play.
We went among them, accompanied by their master.
My father tipped the head boy for the benefit of the
school, and following lunch with the master and his
daughter, to whom I gave a kiss at her request, a
half-holiday was granted to the boys in my name.
How they cheered! The young lady saw my delight,
and held me at the window while my father talked with
hers; and for a long time after I beheld them in imagination
talking: that is to say, my father issuing his
instructions and Mr. Rippenger receiving them like
a pliant hodman; for the result of it was that two
days later, without seeing my kings of England, my
home again, or London, I was Julia Rippenger’s
intimate friend and the youngest pupil of the school.
My father told me subsequently that we slept at an
hotel those two nights intervening. Memory transplants
me from the coach and scarlet livery straight to my
place of imprisonment.
I MAKE A DEAR FRIEND
Heriot was the name of the head boy of the school.
Boddy was the name of one of the ushers. They
were both in love with Julia Rippenger. It was
my fortune to outrun them in her favour for a considerable
period, during which time, though I had ceased to
live in state, and was wearing out my suits of velvet,
and had neither visit nor letter from my father, I
was in tolerable bliss. Julia’s kisses
were showered on me for almost anything I said or
did, but her admiration of heroism and daring was so
fervent that I was in no greater danger of becoming
effeminate than Achilles when he wore girl’s
clothes. She was seventeen, an age bewitching
for boys to look up to and men to look down on.
The puzzle of the school was how to account for her
close relationship to old Rippenger. Such an
apple on such a crab-tree seemed monstrous. Heriot
said that he hoped Boddy would marry old Rippenger’s
real daughter, and, said he, that’s birch-twigs.
I related his sparkling speech to Julia, who laughed,
accusing him, however, of impudence. She let
me see a portrait of her dead mother, an Irish lady
raising dark eyelashes, whom she resembled.
I talked of the portrait to Heriot, and as I had privileges
accorded to none of the other boys and could go to
her at any hour of the day after lessons, he made
me beg for him to have a sight of it. She considered
awhile, but refused. On hearing of the unkind